Home Air Mi-17 helicopters, unmanned vessels part of new US weapon package for Ukraine

Mi-17 helicopters, unmanned vessels part of new US weapon package for Ukraine

Afghan Mi-17
Illustration: US defense department photo of an Afghan Mi-17 firing a 57MM rocket.

The latest round of military hardware assistance supplied by the United States to Ukraine for its defense against the Russian invasion will include former Soviet helicopters and unmanned vessels.

In total, the “Security Assistance for Ukraine”, as the effort is termed by the US defense department, is worth $800 million, and brings the total value of weapons equipment delivered to Ukraine since the start of Russia’s unprovoked, premeditated invasion to over $2 billion.

As revealed by the Pentagon, the package will see the US transfer 11 Mi-17 helicopters, which had previously been earmarked for Afghanistan, as well as unmanned coastal defense vessels. Pentagon press secretary John Kirby did not reveal additional details about the unmanned vessels, adding only they would be supplied by the US Navy.

Other items that are part of the package include an additional 300 Switchblade loitering missiles, 18 155mm howitzers and 40,000 artillery rounds, 10 AN/TPQ-36 counter-artillery radars and two ANIMPQ-64 Sentinel air surveillance radars.

In addition to this, 500 more Javelin missiles and thousands of other anti-armor systems, as well as 200 M113 Armored Personnel Carriers and 100 Armored Humvees will be transfered.

Also included are chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear protective equipment, medical equipment, 30,000 sets of body armor and helmets, and over 2,000 optics and laser rangefinders.

The US announced its aid package as Russia’s invasion in Ukraine enters its 50th day. While Ukraine has pushed back the assault on its capital, Russia is now amassing forces in the southeast of Ukraine in preparation for a suspected large-scale offensive.

According to a senior defense official briefing, Russia has launched over 1,550 missiles so far.

“We continue to see movements and activity of Russian forces in Belarus and in Russia as they continue to reassemble their forces, stage them, stage equipment and materiel support for what we continue to believe is going to be a renewed push,” the official said.

“We do think that south of Izyum, the Russians continue to try to improve their mobility and their firepower, again, the direction they want to move in and the direction of their firepower continues to be in the Joint Force operations area, the JFO. We’ve seen them try to erect a temporary bridge over a local river. They’re increasing their artillery in the area. So very consistent, what we’re seeing today, with what we’ve been talking about in the past, that they are trying to move from the north to the south and southeast into the Donbas.”